C & D Hardware, a member of the Houston Heights community since 1951, equips home improvers and to-do listers with provisions for projects large and small. Conquer domestic disrepair with supplies spanning 26 different categories, from lawn and garden wares and paint gear to a vast reservoir of plumbing equipment and special gifts. Purify your home's lungs with air-conditioning filters ($1.39–$27.99), or whittle a moving box into a mini cardboard replica of the Taj Mahal with a box knife ($0.59–$11.89). Metal garden bugs ($18.49–$79.99) spruce up lackluster lawns, while patio chairs ($25.99–$149.99) provide an ideal perch for competitive lounging. The helpful cast of C & D employees assists customers with an array of services, including rekeying locks, computer color matching, and blade sharpening.
A charter member of the MLS, the San Jose Earthquakes played their first four seasons as the Clash before claiming the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003. Though the team moved to Houston in '05, the franchise was reinstated in '08, bringing professional soccer back to the Bay Area. Buck Shaw Stadium serves as the team's current home, though a new stadium will shoot skyward in 2014, complete with luxury suites for fans and exhausted referees alike.
The friendly tool experts at Direct Tools Factory Outlet help customers to negotiate the store's huge inventory of new, reconditioned, and factory-blemished hardware from brands such as Ryobi, Homelite, and Milwaukee. Items are priced at a reduced rate, giving purchasers extra money and a brand-new stockpile of hardware to construct a time machine to go back and impress an early hominid with a Dirt Devil Scorpion 7-amp hand vacuum ($29.99) or a factory-blemished Ryobi One+ Lithium-Ion compact drill ($127.99). Each product carries a warranty of at least one year, even the reconditioned items, which had to get back in shape with pushups and burpees to earn their warranty ribbon.
Tiny legs scamper across Lone Star Bounce Town's 9,000-square-foot floor, bounding from one cushy inflatable to the next and pausing before a gallery of kid-friendly toys and games. Disney-inspired bounce houses populate the open space, including new plush slides and domiciles that pay homage to the bubbly heroes of Toy Story 3, Winnie the Pooh, and Dante's Inferno. Tykes hone their hand-eye coordination by shooting hoops on the inflatable basketball court, cracking plastic balls off baseball tees, or threading straws into juice boxes in the Lone Star Cafe. A special subsection designed for toddlers, Lone Star's Tiny Town, features scaled-down playhouses, toy cars, and colorful, bouncy balls.
The clatter of foosball and air-hockey tables makes a steady drumbeat, over which drifts the sounds of an arcade—the happy digital babble of a modem dreaming. Ten leather couches with a full view of the children accommodate parents as they surf free WiFi and enjoy coffee from the café.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
For more than 60 years, Kwal Paint's team has designed colors to complement almost any décor, continually refreshing the palette of more than 1,600 shades to reflect trends and advancements in interior decorating. To wit: EnviroKote paints are made from eco-friendly, raw materials and contain no VOC. Additionally, online virtual color-visualizing applications help homeowners realize the abode of their dreams. As ever, the knowledgeable staff is on hand to guide customers through common issues such as blistering or how to revamp garden gnomes stuck in last season's styles.